European Day for Organ Donation: How to become a donor

Today is European Day for Organ Donation and Transplantation (EODD) which aims to promote awareness of organ donation throughout Europe.  EODD is an opportunity to honour all organ donors and their families and to thank transplantation professionals throughout Europe whose hard work helps to save lives and improve the quality of life of many people.

This year, the specific focus is on on the importance of making your own wishes on organ donation known to families and next of kin. The day will also be an opportunity to pay tribute to all donors who have helped severely ill patients to regain a normal life.


Usually, only 20 to 50 people request an organ donor card on any given day, but after campaigner Orla Tinsley's powerful Warrior documentary aired last year, there was a surge in the request for donation cards. Mark Murphy, chief executive of the Irish Kidney Association said in a statement, "The public’s interest in organ donation has dramatically spiked since CF campaigner Orla Tinsley’s documentary was aired on Monday. Such a level of public response has not been seen for almost a decade. Orla’s courage has moved the public in such a powerful and visceral way to support organ donation.”


Related: Over 5,000 requests for organ donor cards since Orla Tinsley documentary aired

Vital donations are still needed

But despite this, demand for organ transplantation is increasing all over the world, and there are still insufficient donated organs available to meet the growing need. This shortage of organs is a limiting factor in treating many patients with chronic organ failure and has led to high numbers of patients on waiting lists.  Last year, over 150,000 patients were registered on organ waiting lists in Europe.


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Although 41,000 patients received a transplant, 48,000 new patients were registered on waiting lists last year.  This is the equivalent of nearly six new patients being added to organ waiting lists every hour.

"In the deepest tragedy, one person can give hope to and save up to eight people."

- Orla Tinsley

Related: If you watch anything this week, let it be Orla Tinsley: Warrior 


Irish statistics

In 2018 in Ireland, 274 organ transplant surgeries were carried out. Over 16o kidney transplants were performed at the National Renal Transplant Service at Beaumont Hospital, 40 of which were from living kidney donations.  Fifty-six liver transplants happened at the National Liver Transplant Service at St Vincent’s University Hospital, and 28 lung transplants and 18 heart transplants took place the National Heart Lung Transplant Service at the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital.

How do I become an organ donor?

There are many ways to get your hands on an organ donation card. Remember to tell your relatives about your decision while you are alive. This will make your family and health services staff aware of your wishes regarding potential organ donation after your death. For information about how the process works, see

  • Email [email protected]
  • Free text DONOR to 50050
  • Phone (01) 620 5306
  • By post to: Freepost, Donor House, Irish Kidney Association, Park West, Dublin 12
  • Collect a card at your local pharmacy or library
  • Sign the back of your driving licence

Photo: Orla Tinsley via Twitter


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